Start Date

April 2021

Document Type

Poster Session

Department

Biological Sciences

Faculty Mentor

Daniel Moore, PhD

Keywords

Genetics, butterflies, doublesex gene, dsx

Abstract

Many butterfly species use mimicry in order to increase their chance of survival. In Batesian mimicry, non toxic butterflies mimic the wing patterns, colors, and shapes of another species that is toxic to predators. Swallowtail butterflies (Papilio polytes) are well-known Batesian mimics, and also display sexual dimorphism with distinct differences between the sexes. Sex limited mimicry is common. The female butterfly may mimic an inedible red-bodied swallowtail, such as the common rose (Pachliopta aristolochiae), or she may be non-mimetic. The male butterfly is non-mimetic. This is a review of recent research into the origin and evolution of gene(s) responsible for mimetic wing pattern, polymorphism and sexual dimorphism. In the past, it was commonly hypothesized that the mimicry “switch” loci consisted of many tightly linked genes, together acting as a “super gene”. More recently, researchers have used genetic and association mapping, transcriptome and genome sequencing, and gene expression analyses, to show that a single gene, doublesex (dsx), is responsible for mimicry and a component of the sex determination pathway in Papilio polytes. Multiple, tightly linked mutations may also be required. Whole genome sequence data from P. polytes and observing the role of the doublesex gene demonstrated that dual regulation by dsx is essential for mimetic wing patterns, being able to both induce mimetic gene networks and repress non-mimetic gene networks.

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Apr 30th, 12:00 AM

The Evolution of Mimicry; The Doublesex Gene

Many butterfly species use mimicry in order to increase their chance of survival. In Batesian mimicry, non toxic butterflies mimic the wing patterns, colors, and shapes of another species that is toxic to predators. Swallowtail butterflies (Papilio polytes) are well-known Batesian mimics, and also display sexual dimorphism with distinct differences between the sexes. Sex limited mimicry is common. The female butterfly may mimic an inedible red-bodied swallowtail, such as the common rose (Pachliopta aristolochiae), or she may be non-mimetic. The male butterfly is non-mimetic. This is a review of recent research into the origin and evolution of gene(s) responsible for mimetic wing pattern, polymorphism and sexual dimorphism. In the past, it was commonly hypothesized that the mimicry “switch” loci consisted of many tightly linked genes, together acting as a “super gene”. More recently, researchers have used genetic and association mapping, transcriptome and genome sequencing, and gene expression analyses, to show that a single gene, doublesex (dsx), is responsible for mimicry and a component of the sex determination pathway in Papilio polytes. Multiple, tightly linked mutations may also be required. Whole genome sequence data from P. polytes and observing the role of the doublesex gene demonstrated that dual regulation by dsx is essential for mimetic wing patterns, being able to both induce mimetic gene networks and repress non-mimetic gene networks.

 

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